Saturday, March 27, 2010


On my travels I’m always on the lookout for interesting badges, which at some future date, may or may not be used to jazz up a jacket or jumper. That sentence may seem a little odd coming from a 38-year-old man, but what can I say, in my opinion a little scrap of tin can only enhance a Marks & Spencer pullover. (Of course if M&S actually started selling jumpers with badges already on them, I would take them off. I’m contrary like that.)

A badge that caught my eye a while back is the one above. It’s a Help For Heroes badge and the £3 I paid for it goes to wounded servicemen, which is very commendable, but not why I bought it. I just thought it would add a Modish touch to an otherwise plain Uniqlo jumper I have.

One of the things I find with wearing badges is they intrigue people. Quite often perfect strangers will ask me the significance of them. One badge I have is a little metal hand grenade, and when I inevitably find myself explaining to someone in the Post Office queue, that it has no meaning and that I just like it, they look disappointed, like they were expecting me to tell them I was awarded it for my part in the storming of the Iranian Embassy in 1980. The truth is sometimes badges are just badges and nothing more than a piece of whimsy.

But recently I’ve started to look at my Help For Heroes medal in a new light. I bought it shortly after my colectomy op last year and I’ve decided that from now on it does have some significance. I’m awarding it to myself for the way I’ve handled the last 12 months. Obviously many people face far, far bigger challenges than adapting to life with a colostomy bag, but I’m going to give myself a pat on the back, because I’m kind of proud of myself. And I’ve not always been able to say that, because in the past even the slightest hiccup in my life would have had me self-medicating on vast quantities of Guinness. Sadly for the landlords of my old watering holes in Walthamstow, I’ve been dealing with things with optimism and positivity, not alcohol and more alcohol.

And I’m pleased to say it’s working. Life is good. I am very happy. The last year has been great. Of course, I don’t really think I deserve a medal for being an ostomate and when someone asks me what my badge is for, I’ll do what I always do, and tell them I just like the colours and I think it’s cool. Privately though, I know it means a little bit more to me than that.